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The Rainbow

Reviewed by: Stephe
Date: 05/31/2014
Summary: A modern showcase for Cheng Lui

The Rainbow starts off seemingly focused on Chin Ping as a
girl with a bad leg caused by a fall on the stairs, but the key
player is Jean Li Chih-An as her tutor. Chin Ping has one brother,
played by Chen Hung-Lieh, who is a sleaze and treats her and
everyone else like dirt, and a step-brother, played by Ling Yun,
as an artist and musician who adores her. Li Chih-An's brother,
played by Cheng Lui, is a talented musical theater performer whose
day job is at a restaurant, and their mother, played by Ou-Yang
Sha-Fei, works a counter there.

Ling Yun spends much of the film holding back from punching
brother Chen Hung-Lieh and pining for the mother he never knew.
Meanwhile, Li Chih-An has to contend with fending off advances
from bad brother Chen Hung-Lieh, while her brother Cheng Lui gets
into fistfights with Chen Hung-Lieh and stirs romantic feelings in
Chin Ping. Cheng Lui is surprisingly good in modern, pretty-boy
non-period martial arts mode, and this might be his only role in
a film of this genre, which is a pity, seeing as his charisma,
appearance and range of expression are every bit as appealing as
that of matinee idol Ling Yun in this milieu. Truly a wasted
opportunity on the part of Shaw Brothers.

Eventually, the two musicianly nice guys are united by Li
Chih-An as step-brothers when it is revealed that Ou-Yang Sha-Fei
(mother to Li Chih-An and Cheng Lui's characters) is Ling Yun's
character's mother, while Chin Ping gains the confidence to
overcome her fear of standing and is able to walk again thanks to
prodding and encouragement from Ling Yun.

Li Chih-An is a good actress and was in 13 films from MP&GI
and Cathay from 1962 to 1968 and two Shaw Brothers films in 1968.
Of them, 1963's Mad About Music was issued briefly in subtitled
form on DVD in a 6-disc box set in Singapore, while The Magic Lamp
(1964) and A Story of Three Loves (Part 1) (1964) were issued as
wide releases subtitled on VCD and DVD, although she only had small
roles in both. Li Chih-An appears on unsubtitled DVD in An Affair
to Remember (1964), Romance of the Forbidden City (1964), Lady in
the Moon (1966), The Haunted (1967), and The Fortune-Teller's
Daughter (1968), all of which were released in 2012 and 2013 by
Hoker Records in Taiwan. Her two Shaw Brothers films (this and
Three Swinging Girls) were only on the Singaporian ZiiEagle box.
Li Chih-An's only top-billed role was in The Fortune-Teller's
Daughter, which was her final film.

Very cool is the vintage snapshot of Ou-Yang Sha-Fei that
appears in the film, which originates from a time possibly prior
to her work at MP&GI/Cathay and Shaw Brothers. She had been a
film actress since 1943, so this image could be from a previous

There are a half-dozen musical numbers in The Rainbow, but
other than that, the film is a drama. It is somewhat corny and
unbelievable at times, moreso than in other Shaw Brothers dramas
and melodramas, I'm afraid, and maybe that's why it wasn't released
to DVD nor VCD. Chin Ping is good in this, but her talents aren't
put to thorough use like they were in Hong Kong Nocturne (1967) and
The Price of Love (1970).

Reviewer Score: 5